Generally speaking, it is better for a person applying to live and work in the U.S. on an L-1 visa to do so from a consulate in his home country. USCIS frowns upon people who engage in “consulate shopping.” When you apply for an L-1, an immigration lawyer will help negotiate any problems you encounter, but the following is worth keeping in mind.
While you may very well have good reason for applying at a consulate outside your home country, some individuals do this in order to avoid those consulates with tighter restrictions. An L-1 visa application from a third country will, for this reason, raise suspicion you may wish to avoid.
When You Cannot Apply as a Third Country National
In some instances, as your immigration lawyer will explain, an individual cannot apply for an L-1 at a consulate other than in his home country. This is true for anyone who has ever been present in the U.S. unlawfully. Indeed, if you apply and are accepted under an L-1, and it is later found that you had been in the U.S. previously without authorization, your visa will be cancelled and you will need to return to your nation of origin to reapply.
Some consulates are more hard-put to disallow L-1 immigration than others—hence the practice of consulate shopping. Whether your home consulate makes it difficult to obtain the visa depends partly on the nature and seriousness of your previous unlawful presence.
That said, most individuals who do apply for L-1 visas from other consulates do so for legitimate reasons. Assuming you have not been present in the U.S. unlawfully in the past, there is no reason why you cannot apply as a third country national; just be prepared for closer scrutiny.
Call an Immigration Lawyer Today
For assistance with immigration matters, call an immigration lawyer at Ionson Law: (781) 674-2562.